I love Napoli President Aurelio De Laurentiis. He is outrageous, and outspoken, and never short of a quip or comment. In other words he is a bloggers dream.
In his latest comments De La has taken shots at Antonio Conte, Juventus, the ‘infantile’ FIGC and Federico Balzaretti.
Napoli are flying into China today ahead of Saturday’s showdown with Juventus at the Bird’s Nest stadium and De La could not pass up a press conference to unload on some of his favourite targets.
“I am happy to have brought Napoli here, as Italian football needs it,” said De Laurentiis.
“I’m only sorry that we were unable to bring our fans with us, but we bring them in our hearts. I know that’s not enough for them, as they have their own ‘code’ of the ultras that we respect, but it will be on television for anyone who wants to see it in Naples.”
Juve have brought along Leonardo Bonucci, Simone Pepe and Coach Conte, despite the fact they could well be suspended if the betting trial delivers its verdict before Saturday.
“Juve showed they are a great squad and missing two players won’t create many problems for them,” noted De Laurentiis.
“As for Conte, it’s as if he were here anyway. He is coming to Beijing, isn’t he? Besides, we’ve won many times without Walter Mazzarri on the bench.”
If Conte is banned for a potential 15 months, it will only prevent him from sitting on the bench or in the locker room on match day, but he will continue to train the team on a day-to-day basis.
The Napoli President agrees with Juventus chief Andrea Agnelli that this betting trial and the flimsy evidence shows the need for a revamp of the entire sporting justice system.
“I have always agreed with Agnelli, as I considered the sporting justice system to be a left-over relic of the football that existed when clubs did not have shareholders. It is rooted in the people who believe football is the same as 30 or 40 years ago, but they are wrong.
“Why was there the need to wait for after Euro 2012 to have the trial? We made the whole world think the entire Nazionale was involved. In terms of communication, the FIGC is infantile and makes us look terrible on the international scene.
“After Calciopoli, how can you not construct a better system that looks after clubs? A few years ago I said that I was very worried, because betting companies were popping up like mushrooms and the State said nothing…”
De Laurentiis also commented on Balzaretti’s decision to turn down Napoli in order to join Roma instead.
“I tried because I liked his passion during the Italy games, but if it wasn’t meant to be… then it wasn’t meant to be!
“If he preferred to look after his ego and give his wife what she wanted by preferring Rome to Naples, then we have to respect that. I had offered more money…
“Aly Cissokho? He is not one of the options we had considered for the left flank before Balzaretti turned us down.
“As for Edu Vargas, he is starting to provide some interesting assists on the field. He just needs to get used to Mazzarri’s Italian.”